This week’s crime report was marked by numerous charges of family or partner assault. Kirsten Pabst from the Missoula County Attorney's Office told KGVO News the details.

“We filed eight new criminal complaints this week, which is towards the lower end. Four of those were violent crimes, and all involved crimes against people or family members. The first was partner or family member assault, in which the defendant allegedly strangled his father,” Pabst said. “The second was a couple of counts of partner or family member assault—a woman was charged with striking her grandmother with a closed fist and then scratching and hitting her mother. The third we charged strangulation and partner or family member assault, and the fourth was a violation of an order of protection.”

Pabst spoke briefly about the prevalence of strangulation charges filed with the Attorney’s Office, noting that the legislature recently determined strangulation to be a felony. She also mentioned an increase in education and awareness for officers regarding strangulation, as strangulation increases the potential for lethal future encounters, and is likely to cause permanent harm to the victim.

Pabst then went on to describe the non-violent crimes filed with the Attorney’s Office this week.

“We charged one criminal endangerment case and two drug cases, both involving methamphetamine. In the second methamphetamine case, the defendant also had psilocybin mushrooms, and was charged with tampering with evidence,” Pabst stated. “Finally, on the administrative crime front, one complaint charged a defendant with DUI second offense plus obstructing, and the allegation there was that the defendant went on the fight after her arrest and attempted to bite a staff member at the hospital.”

The Attorney’s Office is currently involved in an administrative crime that was not filed as a complaint this week.

“We also had the tragic officer-involved shooting this week, and although there is no complaint forthcoming regarding that at this point, our office is involved and works pretty closely with the Missoula Police Department on those types of incidents.”

The Division of Criminal Investigation in Helena will issue a report of the officer-involved shooting in order to avoid a conflict of interest. A coroner from another county will also be brought in to examine the victim of the shooting, in accordance with a statute requiring an outside agency to investigate department incidents.

The Attorney’s Office is busy compiling the 2019 annual report, which will come with more detail when it is released.

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